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Sample JAAVSO Outline

There are many ways to structure a scholarly paper. However, new authors may want to adhere to the most commonly used formats. The paper structure below is that recommended by the American Astronomical Society (used with permission - original can be found here).

Overall Structure

  • Title page
  • Abstract and subject keywords
  • Text
  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendices (if any)
  • References
  • Figures with figure legends (if any)
  • Tables (if any)

Title Page

This should include the following items:

  1. The title of the paper.
  2. A short title (not more than 44 characters) to be used as the running head.
  3. Name(s) of the author(s), with correct capitalization and diacritical marks. The consistent use of first and middle names and/or initials from paper to paper is recommended. Authors who wish to identify themselves with Chinese, Japanese, or Korean characters may do so; see the  Author Names in non-Roman alphabets instructions.
  4. One complete postal address for each author, including zip or country code. A current e-mail address, if available, should be provided for the corresponding author. Affiliations should be listed under authors' names.
  5. Footnotes to the title and to authors' names.


The abstract should summarize concisely the content and conclusions of the paper. The abstract should be a single paragraph of generally not more than 250 words, and the abstract should not contain reference citations. The limitation on the length of the abstract is strictly enforced for the ApJL.

Subject Keywords

A maximum of six subject keywords – see list – should be listed, in alphabetical order, after the abstract.


Section Headings

Sections should be numbered with Arabic numerals. Subsections (second-level headings) should be numbered 1.1., 1.2., 1.3., etc. Third- and fourth-level headings should be numbered, e.g., 1.2.1. and, respectively. First-level titles (e.g., Section 1) and Appendix titles should all be in capital letters; second-, third-, and fourth-level (e.g., Section 1.1, Section 1.1.1., Section titles should capitalize only the first letter of each word, except for articles, conjunctions, and prepositions.


Extensive use of footnotes is discouraged. Footnotes should be confined to providing URLs, affiliations, or other truly peripheral information, and should not be used for discussions of or expansions on the text.

Text footnotes should be numbered consecutively, starting with those on the title page.

Footnotes to tables should be designated by lower-case letters, in alphabetical order, starting with "a" in each table (see sample table). Each table should have its own complete set of footnotes, even if some or all of the footnotes are repeated in later tables.


At the end of the paper individuals, institutions, or funding agencies may be acknowledged. Authors may also acknowledge the referee(s) if they wish. However, it is not appropriate to acknowledge journal staff.

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